Top Critic Average
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels succeeds completely at just one thing: It makes me interested in watching the Netflix series. The game had a lot of potential, and at least superficially it looked like something that may be better than the standard advertorial we’ve come to expect from this kind of tie-in game.
In conclusion, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels may be the best TV/movie turned game I played in a very long time. I consider it to be detailed and highly intricate in its design. Keep your head cool or your team will take some hits though...
If you’re looking for a Tactical RPG game which stands out with unique features, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is for you. Having the ability to only move one unit at a time both increases the difficulty and strategic element of the game, forcing you to think ahead and plan your moves effectively if you don’t want to permanently lose the units you’ve been training up. Similarly, the manual Overwatch ability ensures that if you miss during a crucial pre-emptive attack, it’s most likely down to you and your ability at being accurate and fast. The game will clearly appeal to fans of the show, but newcomers are also welcomed and kept well informed as you proceed through the story. It’s certainly a game which all TRPG fans should try out.
While making a few adjustments to a tried-and-true formula, Narcos: Rise of the Cartel is a surprisingly enjoyable tactical strategy game that does its job well with the Narcos license.
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a credit to its namesake, despite not offering significant challenging AI. The game aims to please a broad audience, and more importantly, to bring new players into the strategy genre.
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a decently executed turn-based strategy title. Sure, sometimes it's a bit too easy, but when the enemy moves efficiently it become a dangerous game of cat and mouse. Just be warned that you'll grow attached to your squadmates, and hate if you lose them. This is for you, Ruiz!
A fun, but simplified take on the turn-based strategy genre, think "baby's first XCOM" and you're on the right lines. Its flaws are obvious but easily overlooked for newcomers to the genre. If you're a die-hard strategy fan, consider giving Narcos: Rise of the Cartels a pass, it won't have much to offer you.
Narcos is a simple "tactics" game, which some fans of the Netflix series will enjoy because of an interesting use of the official license. After a few hours it gets repetitive, because of its lack of different maps.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Licensed games still get a bad rap these days and Narcos: Rise of the Cartels probably won’t convince the naysayers. But buried beneath the murky graphics and presentation is a pretty decent and entertaining turn-by-turn tactical game.
Turning the Netflix series into an XCOM clone is a bold choice, but the dumbed down tactical options and lack of polish are destined to disappoint fans of both franchises.
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a very playable game, there is a desire to get to the next level with as minimal casualties as possible and it does turn what should be a deadly shoot out into a bit of a sneak around to avoid dying. The unrealistic nature of the gameplay was a real downer for me, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels should have been right up my street, but it falls short of my expectations on so many levels it was disappointing. Without the Narcos endorsement, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels should probably retail for less than the £29.99 that is being asked. I have awarded Narcos: Rise of the Cartels a Thumb culture Silver Award.
A game that is aimed at the most fans of the series, since we will have the original voices and will present different sections of it. The pity is that at the strategy game level it falls short and the targeted manuals, one of its defining characteristics with respect to other games of the same style, are not satisfactory enough for the lover of shooting games, and appear too many times for the lover of pure strategy.
Review in Spanish | Read full review
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels is a strategic turn-based combat game that simply doesn't work. Despite a high-sounding name, the managerial part and the strategic depth are lacking; moreover, the variants to the classic X-Com gameplay are strange and poorly designed.
Review in Italian | Read full review
Considering how integral the back-and-forth tussle between El Patron and DEA is to the show, recreating such a violent game of chess in 'tactics' form seems like a match made in heaven. But even with some welcome gameplay twists – namely those real-time Kill Shots and Counteractions – the slow nature of its single-unit turn mechanic and the totally unremarkable AI makes this generous offering of missions far less exciting than it should be. As a genre, a turn-based tactics setup really suits the cat and mouse nature of this real-life-inspired cartel war; it's just a shame certain elements let it down.
Narcos: Rise of the Cartels was shaping up to be a fascinating advert for Netflix's hit series, but the overall quid pro quo bend of strategy ultimately makes it the shallowest of tie-ins. This is one Search Bloc party that you can count me out for.
If you are a fan of the Netflix's series, the game should suit you for a few hours before all of its flaws eventually spoil the party. Narcos : Rise of the Cartels lacks depth and is not a very interesting tactical game.
Review in French | Read full review
Netflix’s Narcos series sucks you in and this game just literally sucks. I honestly expected a lot with how fast-paced and exciting every episode is. The video game just went the opposite direction and if the developers are going for another round at this, I suggest they make major improvements.
Rise of the Cartels presents some interesting ideas, but so far it isn't a title worth buying, especially not for the full price. Of course there are some pluses like great soundtrack or familiar faces from Netflix's show. Unfortunately, the game fails with terrible and irritating combat system, additionally, it gets boring faster than it should.
Review in Polish | Read full review
Despite everything written so far, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels does exactly what it aims to. The game is not an attempt to rewrite the strategy rulebook, but rather a gateway drug for anyone not familiar with the genre who is already hooked on Narcos. In that context, the title is solid: an entry-level strategy game that eases players in. The shallowness stems from the mass appeal and, as such, is a strength. However, those concessions will not spark joy for strategy veterans or anyone looking for a meaty, engaging experience.
This could have been a good game tie-in for the Netflix show. It has source material to work with, high in-game production value, and a proven XCOM-style strategy concept. If only the game would actually let you execute some tactical strategy.
If anything, Rise of the Cartels shows that doing turn-based games in which every unit moves in its own turn instead of the traditional team-based mode is a bad idea. Tactical battles turn into a back and forth between two or three units, it lacks depth the genre is known for.
Review in Portuguese | Read full review
When Fire Emblem: Three Houses released in the second half of 2019, it thrust tactical RPGs into the spotlight once again. Named in many Switch owners top three games of the last 12 months, fans new and old enjoyed all that Fire Emblem had to offer. It’s only natural then to see interest rise in similar titles that are subsequently released. Queue Narcos: Rise of the Cartels.
Bland, boring, and uninspired, Narcos: Rise of the Cartels isn't quite the tie-in product that fans of Netflix's series would want to see. It's bogged down by flawed fundamentals, a repetitive campaign, and unengaging gameplay.